Do You Restrict Certain Food Groups?
Besides having an allergy or some sort of medical issue, you should never restrict any one food group because you’ve been led to believe that it will help you to your body composition or performance goals. Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” is counterproductive to your well-being.
You can most definitely eat all foods, in fact, it’s the best approach to achieve and maintain a healthy weight for the long-term (which is what we are all striving for, right?). The key is to give yourself permission to eat anything that you desire or crave. Caution, this doesn’t give you permission to overindulge at every sight of pizza and cheesecake, but one bight? You bet! This is the strategy I use all the time.
I know that some of you have some strong “trigger” foods that you do best restrict all together, and that’s totally fine. You do what works best for you. But as far as restricting carbs, fats, or bread, etc. is bad news.
In fact, here are 5 reasons why you should consider changing your behavior for the long haul versus going on another restrictive diet this New Year:
1. Guilt-free eating. Swearing off a particular food group creates massive cravings. So once you give in you feel guilty and worthless and from there the cycle begins.
2. Curb Cravings. “I’m going to eat it just this one time.” Ever hear yourself saying this about the food you restrict? Giving yourself permission to eat everything takes the weird “I just cheated on my relationship” feeling out of the equation.
3. Sustainability. It’s all about learning to live your lifestyle. That means going out with friends, birthdays, dinners, etc. Diets are not meant to be followed forever, so allowing yourself to eat all the foods lets you learn how to deal with normal life situations. Rather than diet, free-for-all, diet, free-for-all, and then again and again.
4. The balance of Nutrients. Each macronutrient (carbs, protein, and fats) and micronutrient (vitamins, minerals, and water) performs their own specific duty in your body. Carbs are the fuel for your brain and muscles during exercise. Protein is necessary for growth, repair, enzymatic activity, and transportation in the body. Fats are necessary for hormone production, cell membrane integrity, and vitamin absorption. Now you can see that restricting any one of these can throw a major wrench in your body’s inter-workings.
5. Fat Loss. People who enjoy and savor their food (by eating what their body desires) are much less triggered to eat an excessive amount of food. In fact, shifting your focus from weight loss, to more energy and better performance in the gym typically tends to keep you from self-sabotaging your nutrition and body appearance. I mean think about it, when was the last time you JUST focused on gym performance rather than trying to see how little you can eat in a day? This might be the only shift you need to get the body and health you desire.
Now you have a little taste of the importance of eating a balanced diet incorporating all your favorite foods plus trying new varieties as well.
Now, the real question: How much of the macronutrients should you be eating each day for the activity that you do? Well, that’s where a Sports Nutritionist and/or Nutrition Coach comes in handy.
Depending on your gender, age, weight, height, activity level, workouts, and goals, you will have varying macronutrient numbers to try and hit each day to optimize your body composition and performance goals. The magic really isn’t in the numbers (although they can get you 80% of the way there), but rather, it’s in the consistency and patience that gives you that last 20% of your success.
If you’ve got goals this New Year (and who doesn’t?!) then skip the usual diet book and/or magazine workout routine. You deserve better than that.
Working with a Nutrition Coach for a couple of months is the best investment I’ve ever made. Having the reassurance that you are on the right track and having the professional feedback from someone who has worked with hundreds of people just like you, gives you insights on what to expect and why you are eating the way that they have recommended. I’ve learned more from working with a Nutrition Coach than I have from any diet book and, even better, I can eat this way for the rest of my life while seeing improvements week after week.
If you have questions about working with a Nutrition coach, please contact me (Stesha@StrengthbyNutrition.com). If you and I aren’t a good fit, I have a list of references that you may be interested in, as well. Some of them are big-time coaches, and others are small and personable.
Reach out, I’m here for you!
Happy New Year!